Friday, October 23, 2020

Swedish authorities to question former Swedbank CEO in money laundering scandal

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Former Swedbank CEO Birgitte Bonnesen is be questioned by Sweden’s financial crime police about the Baltic money-laundering scandal that has rocked the bank and rival Danske Bank, Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported on Monday.

Last year, the Swedish bank admitted to failings in combating money laundering and said it was under investigation.

The bank’s Estonian branch is alleged to have processed suspect gross transactions of up to 20 billion euros ($21.69 billion) a year from mostly Russian non-residents through Estonia from 2010 to 2016.

Svenska Dagbladet also said, citing sources, that Bonnesen would be given formal notice that she is suspected of having committed a crime at the hearing.

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Bonnesen, who left the bank last March, had said Swedbank had done nothing wrong.

Her lawyer Per E Samuelson told Svenska Dagbladet: “Yes, I can confirm that she has been called by police for questioning and that it will take place in early April.”

Samuelson told Svenska Dagbladet said he was sure of his client’s innocence.

“After wrapping my head around this, I am completely calm. This will never lead to anything for Birgitte Bonnesen, absolutely nothing,” he said.

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Swedbank is under investigation by Baltic and Swedish financial watchdogs and by at least two U.S. authorities and could face substantial fines.

Bonnesen, her lawyer and the Swedish prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

($1 = 0.9223 euros)

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